Nicola Vitiello is Associate Professor with The BioRobotics Institute (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, SSSA, Pisa, Italy) where he leads the Wearable Robotics Laboratory. In the first of a series of introductory messages from newly-elected directors of euRobotics, we invited Nicola to share his personal perspective on challenges and opportunities as he takes up his new role.
Dear members of the euRobotics community,
It is an honour for me to address you today as a newly-appointed member of the Board of Directors. My career in developing wearable robots, from lab research to market-ready products, has spanned over 15 years. Through my experience, I have learned that robotics requires a unique blend of science, engineering, and marketing. I also recognize the tremendous progress that the EU service robotics community has made in recent decades.
As a member of the euRobotics Board of Directors, my primary goal is to leverage this progress to create successful products that improve our quality of life and strengthen our economy. Achieving this goal will require greater coordination between the European Commission and Member States. One way to accomplish this is through programs such as pre-commercial procurements, which can bridge the gap between research and commercialization.
However, we must also address the challenges that our field faces, such as ensuring that robotics is developed in a safe, ethical, affordable, and transparent way. As robots become more integrated into our daily lives, we must consider their implications on society and develop appropriate regulations and standards – euRobotics can play a crucial role in promoting initiatives that aim to create standards for different robotic technologies.
We must also address the issue of the digital divide, which threatens to create an uneven playing field in the adoption of robotics. It is essential that all members of our society have access to the knowledge and tools needed to fully participate in a digitized and robotized society. As a member of the euRobotics Board of Directors, I believe that our community should act at all decision-making levels to establish a truly innovative education system that emphasizes STEM disciplines, coding, and robotics from primary school onwards.
Thanks – Nicola